Swiss Three Kings’ Bread

In Switzerland, the Three Kings cake is made from sweet yeast dough , which is formed into balls, arranged in a flower-shape and sprinkled with almonds and coarse sugar.

There are various types of Three Kings’ cakes found throughout Switzerland. All have a white plastic king figure “hidden” inside. The person who finds this piece is then “King or Queen for the Day” meaning he or she gets to choose what to do during that day and also what chores to avoid. No washing dishes, no cleaning up, no cooking?!

The Three Kings’ cake is one of the most popular traditions in Switzerland. At the Iowa AG alone, which is Migros’ bakery wholesale distributor produced over 500’000 pieces in 2000. His rival Coop managed to sell over 250,000. This is without counting the hundred of thousands cakes sold in bakeries throughout the country.  The total sales amount to approx 1.5 million cakes. Now beat that. No other celebration is so widely spread across this tiny, multi-cultured country.

Most Swiss buy their Epiphany cake at the local bakery or supermarket.
However, home-made always tastes best. Following is an easy and fast recipe to make with your kids. And who knows, if you’re lucky, you might not even have to do the washing up!!!


  • 500gr flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 20gr (1/2 dice) fresh yeast, crumbled
  • 60gr butter
  • 1/2 lemon, grated rind
  • 4 tablespoons raisins
  • 3dl milk, warmed


  • 1 egg, beaten
  • Sugar crysals, almond leaves


  1. Mix flour, salt, sugar and yeast. Add the rest of the ingredients and knead for about 10 minutes unti a smooth dough has formed.
  2. Cover dough and let rise for 2 hours until it has doubled in volume.
  3. Form 8 servings, each weighing approximately 80gr.
  4. Stick a king or a coin in one of the balls.
  5. Form the remaining dough into a large ball and place on a baking sheet lined tray with the smaller balls distributed evenly around it.
  6. Let stand for covered for another 30 minutes at room temperature to rise.
  7. Brush with egg.
  8. Bake for approx. 30 minutes in the bottom half of the pre-heated 180° C oven. Cool on a wire rack and then decorate!
  9. The “Swiss Way” to eat the “Torta dei Re Magi” is with a good cheese selection, or butter, jam and hot chocolate at breakfast, lunch OR supper time!

You might also want to read about the Ticino tradition of the Befana on Epifany Day. Click here to discover more.

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